– President Jalal Talabani’s aides said any request to keep U.S. trainers into 2012 would fall under a general security agreement with the U.S. “and would not require signing a new accord.”
– The Afghan government warned thousands of militiamen in the country’s north — whose organizations are an outgrowth of a U.S.-financed program — that they had 20 days to turn over their weapons or face a crackdown.
– The number of IED attacks in Afghanistan has hit an all time high with more than 1,600 strikes in June. U.S. military officials say the growing IED threat is a result of Pakistan’s failure to prevent bomb-making materials from being smuggled into Afghanistan.
– President Obama will nominate Pentagon head of weapons acquisition Ashton Carter to be the Defense Department’s No. 2 official. In choosing Carter as deputy secretary of defense, the White House “signaled the importance it places on finding savings and cuts” in DOD’s budget.
– The White House will unveil its strategy to counter radicalization later today. The launch will mark the first time the U.S. has laid out a comprehensive strategy to battle violent extremism.
– Syria faces increasing diplomatic isolation as the government’s bloody crackdown on democracy protesters and its assault on the city of Hama have spurred Russia, an important Syrian ally, to signal support for possible U.N Security Council action.
– Syrian rebels urged the international community to levy oil sanctions against the government of dictator Bashar al Assad to deny some of the revenue fueling a massive government crackdown on opposition protesters.
– The Obama administration gave aid groups the okay to deliver humanitarian aid to famine-stricken Somalia without fearing U.S. fines as the African Union announced that a donor conference for the crisis was being pushed back by two weeks.